Communication breakdown

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  February 16, 2010

That sense of humor should come in handy with this play as well. Ruhl's works, Milles says, "play with that boundary" between what we think we can laugh at and what we can't. Allowing an audience to laugh at something that they otherwise might not have permission to is, she says, "tricky and interesting and powerful.

"I'm a commedia person, and the humor lies in the pathos," she points out. Large emotions conveyed in small ways can be powerful onstage.

"Everything isn't just one thing or another," she adds. "It's a ripple effect and has resonance. When you're looking at someone's horrible marriage there is sort of a wistfulness when you're reminded of your own or you think yours might be better, or when you look at someone's terrible relationship with their parents. In the ruthlessness there is also humor?"

Milles puts a questioning inflection at the end of the observation. That's a good sign. Questioning her directorial judgments at every step with this "tricky" play could result in a Trinity Rep production that is ruthlessly humorous indeed.

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